The Ibaraki Nature Museum has a special exhibit through the month of February. On loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, one of the few complete skeletons of the extinct sabertooth tiger is making its first appearance in Japan.
Well worth a trip anytime, this special exhibit will make a trip to the Ibaraki Nature Museum even more special. Located about 40 minutes from Tsukuba by car, the museum can be quite crowded on holidays and Sundays, and so plan to get there early or go on regular weekdays. The entrance fee is a modest 510 yen for adults, 310 yen for high school and college students and 100 yen for junior high and under. On the 2nd and 4th Saturdays, the entrance fee is waved for high school students and under. The facilities are open from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and closed on Mondays.
To get there by car, take route 354 (Tsuchiura-Noda Sen) through Mitsukaido. From central Tsukuba, it's best to go out Tsuchiura-Gakuen Sen and turn left when it narrows to two lanes. This 4-lane road dead-ends in the 354 bypass. Turn right and proceed to route 294. Turn left onto 294 and then right again at the first light (a couple of km down the road). This will put you back on the old 354. Proceed across the Kinu River until you come to a fork in the road a little over 3 km from the intersection with 294. Take the road to the left. The museum is about 3 km from there on the left. Little signs with the figure of a mammoth guide the way.
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